The Chilliwack Youth Orchestra (CYO) is preparing to end its fourth year on a sweet note with their season finale concert, which includes a silent dessert auction to raise funds for the musical organization.
Comprising three musical levels—junior, intermediate, and senior—the CYO now averages about 40 members ranging in age from seven all the way until late teens or early 20s.
“Our vision is to provide good opportunities for players to experience playing a string instrument at a decent level and to be encouraged all the way through until the end of high school,” said Louwersheimer, who also leads the senior levels.
“In this orchestra, the kids get together and play cards on their breaks,” Louwersheimer added. “They become so social with each other—even the older kids. They all get together and play, and it’s really nice to watch.”
“And there’s a lot of growth and challenges,” he continued. “We also try to teach citizenship … and community involvement.”
“Each year we put on a benefit concert,” explained David Voth, who manages the CYO. “Last year we raised $3,000 and all the profits went to Ruth and Naomi’s Mission.”
The CYO has also hosted two fundraisers for the Chilliwack Cyrus Centre, and one for Serian refugees. “So this time around we’re doing a fundraiser for the orchestra,” added Voth.
“We do this because it’s a tremendous labour of love,” said Louwersheimer. “The money raised will go into general revenue,” which will help the CYO pay for things like space rentals and purchasing music that the children not only enjoy learning, but that will be enjoyed by a broader audience.
“We have a full program between the two of us and it’s really entertaining,” Louwersheimer continued. “And as a (former) teacher who taught high school, I can only tell you that for the parents and grandparents, it’s (a) really entertaining and satisfying (show).”
Besides, now that “we’ve won the (gold) trophy two years in a row (at the Chilliwack Lion’s Club Music and Dance Festival), we can call ourselves an award-winning youth orchestra,” said Louwersheimer, chuckling.
“The calibre of their playing is really wonderful,” added Voth, who also conducts the orchestra’s junior and intermediate levels. “People are usually really surprised, but for the kids, it’s just a really rewarding experience.
“Music is such an important part in the lives of people—maybe even more important now that everything is so visual,” he continued. “So it’s a part of life that we’re trying to keep alive for the kids by (continuing) to provide these opportunities.”
The concert, which is on Saturday, June 2, at 7:00 p.m., will be at the Chilliwack United Church, and tickets—which are $15, $10 for seniors and students—can be purchased online at ChilliwackYouthOrchestra.ca, or at the door.